What Is the College Football Playoff Committee, and Who’s On It?

What is the College Football Playoff committee, how do they work, and who are the members and chairperson of the CFP committee?

The College Football Playoff Selection Committee has become one of the most divisive and controversial entities in the whole of the sport, arriving on our television screens on Tuesdays late in the season to deny or approve your favorite team’s credentials for the playoffs. But what is the CFP Committee, how do they work, and who are the members of the College Football Playoff Committee?

What’s the College Football Playoff Selection Committee?

When it was decided in 2012 that college football would move away from the BCS era — with two teams competing for a national title on the basis of computer-generated rankings — to a final four-style tournament that christened the College Football Playoff, a committee was needed to provide a human element to the decision process of deciding the top four teams in the nation.

The College Football Playoff Selection Committee was born, with a simple mission statement:

“The committee’s task will be to select the best teams, rank the teams for inclusion in the playoff and selected other bowl games, and then assign the teams to sites.”

Like any secret society, the College Football Playoff Committee meets in private, reportedly up to 10 times per year. A shadowy entity working out of the Gaylord Texan hotel in Grapevine, Texas, they discuss and dissect the now 131 FBS teams — although James Madison isn’t eligible for a Sun Belt title or bowl season berth in 2022 — decreeing which are the top 25 teams in the nation.

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The CFP Committee is tasked with deciding the best teams in the nation using a number of factors. Complex statistical analysis, strength of schedule, and the mythical “eye test” are terms consistently associated with the College Football Playoff Selection Committee and its decision-making process. However, these are the guiding principles that help the members compare, contrast, and ultimately rank and decide which teams are the best in the nation:

  • Conference championships won
  • Strength of schedule
  • Head-to-head competition
  • Comparative outcomes of common opponents (without incenting margin of victory)
  • Other relevant factors, such as unavailability of key players and coaches that may have affected a team’s performance during the season or will likely affect its postseason performance

The College Football Playoff Committee releases its ranking on a weekly basis. These Tuesday night rankings, released in a show televised by ESPN, usually begin in late October/late November and run until “Selection Sunday,” which occurs following the completion of conference championship games. In that final show, the College Football Playoff’s “final four” are revealed alongside the remaining New Year’s Six bowl games.

“How do they come to decide the top 25 teams in the nation,” I hear you cry!

It’s a complicated process that starts with the members of the College Football Playoff Committee each submitting a list of the 30 teams they consider to be the best in the nation. Following a series of discussions and debates (sometimes heated), listings, and rankings, that begin with establishing the top three teams in the nation, they finally arrive at a consensus top 25 that make up the College Football Playoff rankings.

Who Are the College Football Playoff Committee Members?

There are 13 members of the College Football Playoff Committee. The initial CFP Selection Committee Protocol deemed that these members would be football experts tasked with upholding the principles and working to the guiding principles that decide the College Football Playoff rankings.

The first College Football Playoff Committee members were announced in October 2013. Since then, members serve a three-year term (although there have been some exceptions). This creates a rotation of members with varying expertise in the arena of college football. These consist of former coaches and players, current athletic directors, and a retired media member.

The final 13 College Football Playoff Selection Committee members are selected from a list of over 100 candidates submitted by conference commissioners.

With current athletic directors serving, surely there is the potential for a conflict of interest? The College Football Playoff Committee aims to avoid this by removing athletic directors from being directly involved in the discussions that related specifically to their teams.

These are the current members of the College Football Playoff Committee, with their area of expertise and term expiration.

Boo Corrigan
NC State Athletic Director, February 2024

Mitch Barnhart
Kentucky Athletic Director, February 2024

Tom Burman
Wyoming Athletic Director, February 2023

Rick George
Colorado Athletic Director, February 2023

Chet Gladchuk
Navy Athletic Director, February 2025

Jim Grobe
Former coach, February 2025

Warde Manuel
Michigan Athletic Director, February 2025

Will Shields
Former Nebraska player, February 2024

Rod West
Former Notre Dame player, February 2025

Gene Taylor
Kansas State Athletic Director, February 2024

Joe Taylor
Virginia Union Athletic Director, February 2023

John Urschel
Former Penn State player, February 2023

Kelly Whiteside
Former college football reporter for multiple outlets, February 2025

Who’s the Head of the Committee?

While the 13 members of the College Football Playoff Committee are all involved in the decision-making process, there is an elected chairperson who is responsible for publicly explaining the decisions of the committee to the media and general public. That takes the form of a cross-examination on the weekly College Football Playoff show and in a post-show media teleconference.

The current head of the committee, and the face of public revulsion over perceived playoff slights, is North Carolina State athletic director Boo Corrigan. He previously served as the athletic director at Army, earning the honor of “Athletic Director of the Year” with both the Wolfpack and the Black Knights.

Under Corrigan, the Black Knights earned the Commander in Chief’s Trophy in back-to-back years and won three consecutive bowl games for the first time in program history. While unable to replicate the same football success at NC State, Corrigan presided over the program’s first ever national title — the NCAA women’s cross country national championship in 2021 — while placing five sports in the top four of their respective polls.

Corrigan began his two-year term as the chairperson of the College Football Playoff Committee in January 2022, replacing previous chairman Gary Barta.


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